Dataquest: Dell tops slumping workstation sales

Worldwide sales of workstations were down 17 per cent in the third quarter of 2001, but Dell Computer Corp. and IBM Corp. bucked the trend, according to research and consulting firm Dataquest Inc., a division of Gartner Inc.

Shipments totaled 346,846 units in the quarter, down from 417,276 during the same period in 2000, Dataquest said in a statement Monday. However, Dell and IBM were exceptions to the gloomy news as both posted double-digit gains in sales.

Dell topped worldwide workstation shipments, with 115,800 units, a jump of some 24 per cent over the year-earlier quarter. That positions the Texas-based hardware maker to likely take the lead in both units and revenue for the first time, the researchers said, though they did not release revenue data, and noted that figures are still preliminary.

IBM, for its part, saw its workstation unit sales grow 10 per cent to 46,050 for the quarter, pulling ahead of Hewlett-Packard Co. (HP) to fourth place.

Sun Microsystems Inc. suffered a slide of nearly 35 per cent in sales, but still took second place at 62,306 units shipped.

The third-place manufacturer was Compaq Computer Corp., whose 50,650 units shipped marked a drop of 16 percent from last year’s third quarter.

HP, at fifth place, took the biggest blow of the group, shipping 37,280 units, or 47 per cent less than a year ago.

Dataquest said there are signs of a recovery in the sector: They believe workstation sales may show positive growth in the fourth quarter. Many corporate buyers postponed hardware acquisitions during the first half of 2001, the researchers said, but these purchases will have to be made soon.

The U.S. military campaign in Afghanistan could further boost shipments to government, defense and biotechnology buyers. And the Sept. 11 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center has even resulted in a slight increase in workstation purchases by companies that lost offices in the twin towers, Dataquest said.

Dataquest, in San Jose, Calif., can be reached at